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Westworld: Season 1, Episode 7 – Trompe L'Oeil Review

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★★★★★

Saddle up! But beware potential spoilers in this review, which will discuss elements of the episode.

Maeve

Continuing the strong story vein of Maeve's development, Thandie Newton is given yet more wonderful material to spin into gold, including a fun moment where she slams shut the piano she's clearly sick of hearing as she starts another loop, albeit with her freshly raised intelligence level. The moment where the techs freeze everyone to collect Clementine is truly tense, and there's real sadness in Maeve's eyes as, before they turn up, she listens to Clem talk about her "family". As for Maeve's plan to escape the facility, you've got to love her line about death and how she's been through it many times. While we still don't quite know how she plans to get out (perhaps the Delos lab security really is that terrible), we're ready to see where she goes with this.

Bernard

If you had "Bernard is a host" in your betting pool, prepare to be very happy. But the revelation is a heartbreaking one, played to perfection by Jeffrey Wright, Anthony Hopkins and Sidse Babett Knudsen, whose Theresa learns a lot more about Ford's plan, but only just before she's brutally murdered by Bernard. It's an amazing scene, balancing exposition with real human emotion. Well, not completely real human emotion, but you know what we mean. Anyone want to guess whether the host being built in that hidden little lab is a Theresa clone so she isn't missed? Almost as effective – though vaguely confusing in the light of a later scene they share together – is Bernard's firing after a demonstration of how the new host updates are affecting their behaviour. Angela Sarafyan gets a little something to do beyond her usual prosti-loop, but even she is subject to the cruel whims of her owners, essentially put down as a horrified Maeve watches.

Dolores and William

Our heroes (and Lawrence) up the action quotient this week, as we finally catch up with their story after an episode away. The train sequences are compelling both in terms of their danger and emotional consequence, as William and the object of his affection finally admit their true feelings and sleep together. Dolores' hidden depths come once again to the fore as she draws from her unconscious and sketches a valley that – perhaps a little conveniently, though in keeping with the hosts' link to their narratives – they end up finding. But not after a thrilling conflict and chase with some confederados that is brutally interrupted by members of the Ghost Nation tribe.

Delos

More and more about the company and its dark desires are revealed, partially by Tessa Thompson's Charlotte Hale, who has no qualms about ordering up Hector (Rodrigo Salem) as a sex buddy and answering the door to Theresa in the nude. Now we're wondering Hector has a Tinder profile that includes the line "turn-offs: a special command from a Delos employee". But more seriously, it really does appear that Delos and its board give Ford control over the park because the technology or software he's been developing has some other use. Could the company be building robo-soldiers? Or is there something even scarier at work?

Summary

After a slow build in some previous episodes, Trompe L'Oeil (an art technique that uses realistic imagery to create the optical illusion that the depicted objects exist in three dimensions, fact fans) ratchets everything up another level. We're really starting to learn more about Delos and how Ford might be planning to undercut their schemes. Plus, the evolution of Hosts such as Dolores and Maeve is unfolding in different and interesting ways. It helps that the show is so very well-cast, so even when there are big chunks of exposition to be delivered, you have the likes of Anthony Hopkins bringing their talents to it. And while the small logic issues here and there persist, it doesn't ruin the enjoyment of what has quickly become one of the better series on TV. Some have wondered about who to feel empathy for, but you'd have to have a heart of cold metal not to feel for Maeve or Dolores (and even Teddy or Clem) as they struggle with their programming and potential future.

We talked to Clementine herself, Angela Sarafyan, about the episode.

Read previous episode reviews below...

Westworld Season 1 Episode 1: The Original

Westworld Season 1 Episode 2: Chestnut

Westworld Season 1 Episode 3: The Stray Westworld Season 1 Episode 4: Dissonance TheoryWestworld Season 1 Episode 5: Contrapasso

Westworld Season 1 Episode 6: The Adversary

Westworld airs on HBO in the US on Sunday nights and Tuesdays on Sky Atlantic in the UK

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